STRATEGY is the single most misused word that I have ever come across. Seriously, a five cent lemonade stand run by a cute 10 year old in a busy park can be as strategically located, priced, and executed as a great smart phone campaign. No goal is too big or small as long as there is a method to create content strategy and visualization of the steps and micro goals needed to achieve it.
You may be convinced that you need to start with a 10 page plan with detailed personas, promotion strategies, budgets, and metrics but while that can be critical to success, I don’t see that as the LEGENDARY first step. To me what is more important is the ability to first PLAY it in your head.
Do you see a stick figure labeled user x or do you see a nervous 17 year old, pimply teenager shopping for her first prom dress? Once you can live it, feel it, and BELIEVE it, it’s time to optimize the numbers. Not the other way around.
What I would like to suggest as a great starting point is answering the 3 questions below:
What’s your story? (Unless of course, you are the story.)
Now here’s the thing. I know that all you really want to know is how to get noticed and make buckets of cash but unless you are selling me a nose strip that can transform me into Angelia Jolie, you NEED a story.
The point is that in the absence of a standout feature like the above mentioned nose strip in which the “what and how” are a story in themselves, me too products like shower heads or hand towels have no option but to consider a whammy of a “why”.
Now this advice may appear to be a throwback to the good old USP (Unique Selling Proposition) days and it is – but with a small twist.
INSTEAD of spending time communicating the 43 features that make you one of a kind, why not create an inventive but honest perspective of how they all add up and actually MEET a customer need and work on defining that value as well as you can?
I mean, Feature 43 can be really unique but does it help your story or for that matter, your customer?
- Who cares? And why should they? Honestly, fewer people than we would like are usually enough to keep us in business if we are willing to make the effort. (This is not a business plan or funding pitch so it is safe to assume that a marketable audience exists but needs to be defined accurately in order to enable sustainable engagement.)
Just teenagers or working professionals? To-be brides and grooms or professional pageant contestants? Men or Women? It can be anybody you think would benefit from removing pimples in time before they become unsightly scars. And ideally the age, gender, and income most suited to the unique features YOUR STORY offers.
- How can you help? Anybody who has ever tried to make their kids eat their vegetables or try a 3-day sugar detox will know that logic is never enough… to even make a dent. The great logic presented by features A, B and C is simply a hygiene factor. Logic helps avoid post purchase dissonance. Logic unfortunately DOES NOT motivate. It may in fact, on occasion have the exact opposite effect.
(Ever tried NOT eating a chocolate bar?) Motivation comes from the most unlikely triggers but they are ALWAYS emotional.
So ok, Cinderella charms the Prince and leaves behind her dainty Louboutin heel so he can find her. Alas … she also sprouted 3 huge pimples that made her nose so misshapen that he failed to recognize her. And wait… the story is not over yet. He instead married Cinderella’s big ugly half-sister who shared half her genetic material and therefore had similar big blue eyes and looked far more familiar to the Prince, especially as her skin was clear and acne free as she used the “Zitblaster blackhead remover” twice a week!
It doesn’t have to be Cinderella; it could be about your prom date or a study that shows a positive correlation between clear skin and self-confidence. The actual facts that you choose are never important – It just has to be something you believe in, something real.
The best stories are embellished to appeal to the context of their narration.
How does this make content marketing different from what we already know?
CONTENT MARKETING SEES THE HORSE AND CART DIFFERENTLY…
Now in advertisement creation and most traditional marketing we identify the logical audience as the first step and then outsource the story creation to fit the bill. We see it as a secondary, sometimes even a tertiary step, which the creative department of some Clio award winning agency can handle … so we end up briefing them on an audience which is basically ANYBODY with oily skin and then wonder why we end up with lackluster one size fits all creatives.
Just remember one of the thousand skin close up ads and packaging with before and after images… they tend to merge. I guarantee that a BULBOUS-NOSED Cinderella backed by a tragic tale would not!
Traditional marketing made their product the hero and then followed it up with a great story. Content Marketing wants you to figure out why you matter especially when you are the 9886th detergent brand that thinks it washes the whitest.
In a nutshell
- Do you have a story to tell? A mission, a goal, a purpose, or even a passion that you want to share with others through your product or service.
- Do you know the person who will share this passion and excitement for your story and beliefs? Their age, hobbies, interests, marital status, likely income, and where they hang out?
- What can you say or do to start a conversation? How can you connect and make a difference to their lives using your shared passion?
If you can answer the above questions, then you already have a strategy. Now you just need to work out the details. That’s 7 out of 10 chapters but, YES, it’s the easy part. Get Your Free Copy of “Content Marketing vs Marketing – A Traditional Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing in 2018” Today.